Home ice finally appeared to be an advantage for the first time in a while for the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday.
Leon Draisaitl had a goal and an assist as the Oilers ended a five-game home losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
“It was nice to get a win at home,” said Oilers forward Zach Hyman. “It had been a little while, too long for us. We started off really well and made an emphasis on playing a full 60.
“Even though they got that goal at the end of the second period, we didn’t fall off our game, we didn’t deter. We just kept playing our game and weren’t on our heels. We were pushing the pace and I think that’s what you need to do.”
Kailer Yamamoto, Dylan Holloway and Hyman also scored for the Oilers (21-17-2), who snapped a two-game losing skid.
Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each had two assists, while Jack Campbell made 20 saves.
“We controlled the game right from the drop of the puck and were able to finish it out. It was a good team win,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft. “We have a lot of really proud people in our dressing room and I saw them come together and play hard for each other.
“Nobody was happy with not closing some games out on this homestand and it’s a credit to our players. They went out and executed. They played hard for each other and found a way to win a game.”
Mathew Barzal and Cal Clutterbuck replied for the Islanders (22-16-2), who have lost two of their last three. Ilya Sorokin stopped 34 shots.
“We got off to a bad start and they came at us and we were unable to get going north,” said Islanders defenceman Ryan Pulock. “It’s just a matter of bearing down, it’s a matter of everybody individually having themselves ready to go and play the right way, the way that we play.
“When we don’t do that, we don’t have a lot of success.”
Draisaitl opened the scoring 9:26 into the first period on the power play. McDavid sent the puck across to him and Draisaitl unleashed a one-timer past Sorokin, who was already playing without a stick.
The Oilers doubled their lead with 1:20 remaining in the first with a short-handed tally. McDavid dished it to Yamamoto and he waited for defenceman Noah Dobson to go down before sniping his third of the season through Sorokin’s legs. McDavid reached the 500 career assist mark on the play.
Edmonton had 18 first-period shots, while New York only had four.
The Islanders benefited from some sloppy play by the Oilers to get on the board 4:42 into the second period. Barzal ripped a shot off the crossbar and in to extend his goal-scoring streak to five games.
The Oilers regained their two-goal edge 8:34 into the second as Holloway unleashed a rocket of a one-timer from the high slot for his second career goal.
Edmonton made it 4-1 at 15:17 as Draisaitl sent Hyman on a breakaway and he shifted to the backhand to score his 18th of the campaign.
The Islanders were able to get one back with just 53 seconds left in the second period on the power play as a long-range shot by Scott Mayfield was redirected into the net by Clutterbuck.
The Islanders won the previous meeting between the two teams 3-0 in New York on Nov. 23, with Sorokin earning a 49-save shutout … McDavid’s 42nd assist of the season late in the first period gave him 500 for his career, doing so in his 527th game. Only five players in NHL history have done it faster — Wayne Gretzky (352), Mario Lemieux (433), Peter Stastny (507) and Bobby Orr (522) … Coincidentally, Draisaitl recorded his 400th career assist in the game, becoming the fifth-fastest Oiler to hit the mark in his 596th game … Edmonton’s 45 power-play goals coming into the contest was the most through a team’s first 39 games of a season since 2008-2009 when the Detroit Red Wings had 46 … Out with injuries for the Islanders were Adam Pelech (upper body), Simon Holmstrom (lower body), Kyle Palmieri (upper body) and Oliver Wahlstrom (lower body). Forward Clutterbuck returned after missing the last eight games because of an upper-body injury … The Oilers were without Evander Kane (wrist) and Ryan Murray (back) … It was Dobson’s 200th NHL game.
The Islanders have a quick turnaround as they are right back at it on Friday night when they travel to Calgary to face the Flames to close out a four-game trip.
The Oilers wrap up a four-game homestand on Saturday night against the defending Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche.